Bold Breakfast from Dunkin Donuts

I love getting donuts at Dunkin Donuts, I’d be hard-pressed to tell you a flavor of donut that I didn’t like.  On occasion, I’ll get an iced coffee or an iced tea, but usually my focus is solely on the donuts. But this is a tea blog not a donut blog!  This time, I tried Dunkin Donuts’ Bold Breakfast black tea at home.

Like the best tea companies, this sample came in a silk pyramid tea bag, and there were visibly whole leaves of tea in the bag- no crushed tea powder here.  I brewed it following their instructions to use boiling water and steep for 3 minutes.

The resulting brew was dark and gently fragrant.  It looked like tea, smelled like tea, and guess what?  It was a completely serviceable breakfast tea. It had the traditional black tea tartness and crisp mouthfeel, with plenty of flavor and caffeine to wake you up.  The flavor was a bit one-note though, missing the malt or complexity of other loose leaf breakfast blends, but its one flavor is perfectly capable on its own.

Like many breakfast teas out there, when brewed black, this tea could be a tad bitter.  If served iced with slices of lemon and sugar, or served hot with milk or honey, it would easily turn this tea into a more refreshing or comforting brew.

Serve this tea in a teapot on a tray, and your guests won’t suspect your tea purveyor is Dunkin Donuts. Sweeten the tea tray with some donuts and it might just be the best way to serve this tea yet.  Hmm, maybe I just need a frosted donut to dunk into my mug and then this brew will be perfect!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Dunkin Donuts

Description: A blend of full-leaf black tea for a full bodied flavor

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Hustle from Wise Ape Tea Company. . . . . .

Chocolate Hustle from Wise Ape wants to be your replacement for coffee or that afternoon energy drink, or any high caffeine beverage that you reach for when the going gets tough.  The yerba mate in this blend certainly gives you some much-needed energy to fuel your day-to-day hustle.

Beyond the yerba mate, this tea has chocolate flavors to indulge your sweet tooth.  The cacao notes also help edge the tea into a more coffee-inspired robustness. There is also mint included for some crispness, a perfectly brisk accent to help make this brew feel more uplifting.  The mint offers cooling and calming sensations to help you with mental clarity and focus.

The dry grass or earthy-hay flavors of the yerba mate are still very much present in the brew, so it may not taste exactly like a coffee replacement.  This is probably a great caffeine-replacer for someone who already likes mate teas.

This tea is flavorful on its own or the perfect partner for a latte or even a butter-filled bulletproof brew. Don’t let low-energy get you down, listen to the Wise Ape and brew up a cup of Chocolate Hustle to keep you going.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Mate
Where to Buy: Wise Ape Tea Co.
Description: A powerful blend of roasted yerba mate tea with hints of chocolate and mint, combined with adaptogenic super-herbs to support your brain naturally. This unique elixir is designed to heighten your focus, energy, and clarity.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Get that Wild West feel with Wild Chicory Joe from The Tea Spot

When I think of chicory, I think of my favorite western TV shows and movies.  Why?  Well there wasn’t always a good supply of coffee out on the dusty trail, so chicory would be brewed as a substitute.  Chicory and coffee have a long history together, with chicory stretching or replacing coffee when the latter is hard to come by, from Napoleonic France to the American Civil War.  After these coffee-sparse times, some cultures developed a taste for chicory and still brew it alongside or with their coffee today.

I got a chance to try a cup of Wild Chicory Joe from the Tea Spot.  I’m both a coffee fan and a tea lover, so I can appreciate both sides of this story.

Wild Chicory Joe brewed up super fast, as quick and dark as coffee.  The brew was immediately full and fragrant, smelling like savory toasted grains or roasted nuts, over an undertone of more bitter, dirt-road earthiness.  The first sip was a bit daunting: it’s not coffee, it’s not tea, and my taste buds were not sure what to expect.  As I moved onto a second and third and fourth sip, the flavor grew on me.  Beyond the roasted notes, there were flavors like caramel and malt, and a touch of true coffee on the aftertaste.

I could understand how chicory got its start as a coffee replacement.  This brew is dark and bitter, but with a touch of the bright, citrus notes you find in a blond coffee roast.  Unlike coffee, the chicory isn’t oily, instead it brews up with a smooth mouthfeel and a more herbal flavor.

Maybe I’m channeling my favorite westerns, but this cup is distinctly masculine, with nothing floral or astringent, just deep, bold, bitter – pow!  All that said, the chicory does mellow out with some milk and sweetener so you can mix it like your favorite coffee or tea.  And since the chicory is decaf, you can make a latte at any time of day or night.
If you’re looking to switch  from coffee to chicory, this won’t be an easy transition, the chicory isn’t a perfect coffee replacement (not to mention, you’ll be craving the caffeine).  But if you’re bored with your tea or need a break from your coffee, Wild Chicory Joe will be a fascinating cup to try.  A cup of chicory might just be the perfect accessory to have on hand when watching your favorite western or reading your favorite wild west novel.  Happy trails!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: The Tea Spot
Description:

Hold onto your hats, coffee lovers! This natural coffee replacement is so darn delicious, you won’t believe your taste buds. Our Wild Chicory Joe brews into a boldly deep herbal tea that masquerades as a strong-brewed cowboy coffee, without any acidity. The roasted chicory root creates a dark espresso base while the chocolate barley malt adds cocoa notes and the fennel adds a little sweetness. Drink it straight or as the bold caffeine-free base for a latte. You might even trick some coffee fanatics into enjoying this cup of herbal tea. Giddy-up and grab some Joe!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

I Dream of Macchiato Dream from Steeped Tea

I don’t discriminate when it comes to tea and coffee, I like them both, hot and iced, and I often find myself drinking one or the other depending on my mood.  I was very intrigued to try a rooibos tea with real coffee beans mixed in the dry leaf.  Visually, this blend is intriguing, with the fine red grains of rooibos mixed in with dark, roasted coffee beans and chunky cocoa shells.

The smell of this tea is amazing right from the start: there is the sharp, earthy, depth of roasted coffee beans, the sweet decadence of cocoa, and the bright vanilla nuttiness of the red rooibos.  Without even brewing a cup, this tea smells like a mocha dessert or java ice cream.

Brewed hot, the cocoa and coffee take over, completely masking the rooibos.  This can be a benefit– I’m not always in the mood for the particular taste of red rooibos, though its caffeine-free status is hard to beat.  The brewed tea has a smooth mouthfeel, warming and coating my throat, and the sweet flavors almost trick my tongue into thinking we’re having dessert instead of tea.
Even with the coffee beans, there’s not as much caffeine in this blend as other black teas or full-on coffee, so there is more flexibility as to when you can indulge in Macchiato Dream.  I’m not as ambitious as some SororiTea Sisters when it comes to building lattes, but I can already tell that this tea will be a winner when mixed with milk and sweetener.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: Steeped Tea
Description:
Switch from coffee to tea. Bold caramel flavor with coffee beans.
Ingredients: Rooibos tea, cocoa bean bits, coffee beans, natural flavors.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bake a Valentine’s Cake to Go With Your Tea

Valentine’s Day.  A time for everything pink and rosy.  Strawberries and chocolate galore. If you are looking to recreate that sweet, romantic, dessert feeling I would recommend brewing up a cup of Chocolate Covered Strawberries by Shuswap Infusions. This black and oolong blend has dark chocolate and strawberry notes, and it even has flower petals in the dry leaf.

Whether you’re celebrating yourself or being cute with a sweetheart, it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate.  So I recommend making an old family recipe (that we clearly just took from the King Arthur Flour cookbook) for a super-easy, super-tasty, one-pan vegan mocha cake.  Trust me, even those of you who are baking-impaired can make this one.  We call it the Stir-Crazy Cake.

For best results, mix the ingredients in the pan from which you will serve the cake.  This won’t be a problem if you use a cute heart-shaped pie dish or cake pan for the occasion.

Mix directly in your pan:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix dry ingredients with a whisk or fork.

Make three wells (three divots or holes) in the dry ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the wells, only one ingredient into each well:

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Pour 1 cup cold coffee over all ingredients.  If you don’t want a mocha cake, just use cold water instead.  [For those kitchen-oriented mad scientists out there, maybe adding a cold cup of your favorite dessert or strawberry tea could be a nice substitute as well.  I haven’t experimented myself, but now I’m  curious to try it… ]

Stir all the ingredients together until well blended.  Really make sure you mix the cake (hence the “Stir-Crazy” name).  Get all the dry ingredients mixed in from the bottom and edges of the pan.

Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, without any crumbs.

Serve straight from the pan to your plate.  If you’re getting overloaded from chocolate, brew up something sweet and fruity to go with the cake, maybe a classic like Raspberry Zinger from Celestial Seasonings to help balance out the dark chocolate decadence.
Happy baking!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Oolong
Where to Buy: Shuswap Infusions
Description:

Just in time for Valentines Day! The name of this tea is just as delicious as it sounds. For a real treat, serve it as a latte garnished with shaved chocolate

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!